Kmart: The Shop that Tries to Please Everyone by Will Kay

Posted on February 6, 2013


Where can you find dry dog food next to men’s white leopard-print underwear? Why, Kmart, of course. Hence, it has been a source of confusion for me that Kmart even exists. Recently however I have come to understand the delightful consumerist power of Kmart.

As someone very much entrenched in the internet and its niches upon niches, that the concept of the everything store, that is Kmart, didn’t seem plausible to me. Clearly, I was looking at Kmart from the exact wrong standpoint. What makes Kmart tick is that it doesn’t give you exactly what you want, it gets as functionally close at exactly the price you want. Although, strangely there are two different varieties of “Body made from beer” underwear in the men section.

The signal that you've found what you need.

The signal that you’ve found what you need.

That is where the fun starts with Kmart, they fuck everything up a little bit. The way they fuck things up is a deliberate bent towards low culture. Take for example their books section, Kmart jumped on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon and filled half the book stock with Fifty Shades of Grey. It warms my heart to shop at Kmart among the Emma Bovary’s of 21st century Australia. This is where the wit of Kmart lies in its acknowledgement of the desires of the middle class.

People want things, lots of things to be more exact. Kmart just obliges in a cheap and often fairly comical way. A lot of this comes from using things that are in the public domain, such as King Henry XIII’s likeness. What’s better than a dart board? A King Henry XIII dart board according to Kmart. Pair that with a Disney Princesses suitcase and you a set for some fun times. Not only does Kmart give people lots of things, they give lots of things to lots of different people.

Look at that crockery for only $2. Kmart you're too kind.

Look at that crockery for only $2. Kmart you’re too kind.

There lies the brilliance of Kmart, it tries to please everyone. And it largely succeeds. I challenge anyone to go into Kmart and not want to buy at least one thing. If you don’t want buy at least one thing, I would agree with Kmart: you are not everyone, you are noone and you don’t exist. Or otherwise you are just pretentious. Take your pick.

While Kmart certainly isn’t perfect, is it is pretty darn good to a lot of people. Sure, it fucks things up, but aren’t we all a little fucked up. So I suggest you don a pair of “wild thing” satin boxer shorts, a Spiderman helmet and alpha male socks and marinade in your Kmart purchases.

Will Kay is You’re Dripping Egg’s co-creator. His column, Nothing Unnecessary bar the Unnecessary, in which he looks a little to hard at things that just don’t matter, is released every second Tuesday (whoops). 

What do you think of Kmart? Do you think Will was too kind, or are you a lover of Kmart’s wares? Voice your concerns/support in the comments.